The AAP government reshuffled five minister’s portfolios and added one new minister today, including Punjab Horticulture Minister Fauja Singh Sarari.
A few months ago, an audio clip of Sarari purportedly discussing extorting money from transporters went viral and led to his removal as he failed to respond to a show-cause notice. Since then, the Opposition parties have sought his removal.
After Vijay Singla, Sarari becomes the second minister from Bhagwant Mann’s Cabinet to be dropped over corruption allegations. As a result of Sarari’s ouster, Patiala Rural MLA Dr Balbir Singh was appointed to the Cabinet. Among his responsibilities are Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education and Research, and Elections. A simple ceremony was held in the presence of Mann to administer the oath of office to Dr Balbir Singh. Five of the CM’s Cabinet colleagues have had their portfolios changed. In addition to providing technical education and industrial training to Harjot Bains, he also provided hospitality training to Anmol Gagan Maan. The Jails Department, however, has been taken over by him.
In addition to heading the Mines and Geology Department, Bains has now been given the Higher Education Department, which previously belonged to Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer. Mines, Geology, and Water Resources Departments have been assigned to the latter. The portfolio was changed due to skyrocketing prices of sand and gravel. Recently, the department’s principal secretary resigned. Chetan Singh Jouramajra has been eased out as Health Minister and given the departments previously held by Sarari – Freedom Fighters, Defence Services Welfare, Food Processing and Horticulture.